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The South Korean government has introduced new measures to boost tourism and attract talent, including new tourist visas and significant amendments to work visas. These changes aim to promote growth, enhance welfare, and entice skilled professionals to join the country’s expatriate workforce, reports Wego.

New visas and initiatives to boost tourism

In a bid to attract more tourists, South Korea has introduced a series of initiatives, including new visa options and improved travel experiences. Earlier this year, the government launched a one-year trial of “workation” visas, designed to make long-term stays more appealing for remote workers.

To further enhance this program, efforts are underway to make these visas more accessible and comfortable for expatriates by adding incentives and expanding tour options.

 

Building on this, the Yonhap News Agency reported a new “K-Culture” visa set to be introduced on a trial basis. This visa aims to attract foreigners interested in training in K-pop culture and choreography. Given the global popularity of K-pop, the government anticipates that this visa will draw a significant number of tourists.

In addition to the new visas, South Korea is also improving existing visa options to increase tourist numbers. Key measures include:

  • new flight routes: to enhance accessibility, direct flights to Jakarta, Bali, and Ulaanbaatar will be launched
  • seamless arrival: the government plans to install more automated immigration checkpoints to reduce screening times at maximum ports. Furthermore, ETA regulations will be eased for nationals from visa-free countries
  • enhanced tourist experience: efforts to curb scams targeting tourists are being intensified, especially at popular tourist attractions. Additionally, new tour programs focusing on hands-on experiences and extended luggage handling services are being organised

Plans to improve foreign labour management

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo announced a comprehensive plan to enhance the management of foreign workers in South Korea, addressing labour shortages caused by the country’s declining and ageing population.

 

Key measures outlined by the Yonhap news agency include:

  • improved administration: a new central foreign workforce policy committee will oversee the entire foreign labour force, streamlining efforts currently managed by individual ministries. South Korea currently hosts approximately 560,000 foreign workers, with this number expected to rise.
  • sector-specific visa management: the agriculture ministry will manage agricultural workers, the oceans ministry will handle fisheries workers, and the labour and related ministries will oversee manufacturing, construction, and service workers.
  • eased visa requirements and more opportunities: the government aims to attract foreign professionals by offering incentives and easing visa requirements. Additionally, job and training opportunities will be expanded for foreign graduates from local universities.

Prime Minister Han highlighted the necessity of a coordinated system to integrate diligent foreign workers into the workforce without compromising domestic employment. These measures, developed through extensive planning and expert consultations, aim to transform South Korea’s labour landscape positively.